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Old 17 October 2021, 12:10   #1
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Best fish finder/chart plotter

Good evening, I have just joined the forum after recently buying a small Rib. The boat currently has a basic Lowrance Mark 4 black and white fish finder. I would like to upgrade but do not want to spend £700 or £800 ideally less that £500. Any advice on how useful the five inch screens are or a model that works well from personal experience?


Many thanks Jay Butler
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Old 17 October 2021, 13:34   #2
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Welcome.

It has been discussed recently and the Garmin Echomap 45 seems to have quite a few fans. It's well within budget.
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Old 17 October 2021, 15:09   #3
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I use the lowrance elite 7 combo the 7 inch screen works for me even when it’s rough.
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Old 18 October 2021, 15:55   #4
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I know you said you want to spend less than £500 for your unit, but for what it's worth here are my thoughts on a more expensive unit. I am a novice, so take this with a pinch of salt!

I bought the Garmin Echomap 95SV for the main reason that I have 'old-man's-eyes'. Those small screens would be useless to me without glasses on. Which in turn quickly become useless in rain and/or spray. The 95 allows me to have 2 views open at the same time and toggle between them if I want more detail - and no glasses required! I use the navigation window and the depth/echo sounder (which I still don't know how to read!) side by side.

We were on Loch Morar a month back and I hit a rock whilst on the plane in 12m of water. Go figure! Freaked me out that a rock could stick up so much in that depth of water. So the echo sounder didn't help me - until after I'd hit it. BUT the detailing on the chart plotted the route I had taken and stored it so I could miss that rock on later trips over the same water. We also went off Staffin on Skye in some strong winds and rough seas, and the chart function was awesome. I really learnt to rely on it and was glad I had not skimped on cost.

And yes it is over a grand with a good transducer but those are my thoughts for what they are worth.
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Old 18 October 2021, 16:55   #5
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>>>on Loch Morar a month back and I hit a rock whilst on the plane in 12m of water.

We had a week based at the western end a few years ago... I wasn't that keen. The water levels were low for us all week and there were some real traps for the unwary until you'd cleared the islands.
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Old 18 October 2021, 17:09   #6
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Yes, it is dodgy around the islands. We did it a few years back in SIBS with no echo sounder, blissfully unaware of the underwater world around us. This year with the Garmin I often had to suddenly back off as the bottom came up to bite! Quite frightening really. But the Garmin was great - once we'd plotted or found a safe channel then we could follow that track safely time and again.

But it is a magical place to wild camp. Absolutely magnificent!
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Old 18 October 2021, 17:25   #7
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Yes we had a small handheld Garmin back then so... despite not having Morar mapping... once you'd done the trip safely as you say the return track was a great help.
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Old 18 October 2021, 17:58   #8
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In your price range I recommend a Garmin echomap 65 or 75.
I had lowrance units for close to 30yrs and updated every two to three years but over the last 5-6yrs have gotten fed up with reliability issues and poor service from the company. My Lowrance units were always top of the range large screens, not budget units. Simrad are as unreliable as lowrance in my opinion from recent experience.

My current boat has both Garmin and Simrad, with Simrad being very unreliable (7ins evo3) that I dont bother turning on anymore. One of the commercial vessels I skipper is on its second 16in evo in the last couple of months, which is also constantly shutting down and struggling with touch control. On several fishing forums Im on Simrad seems to be going through a bad patch in terms of reliability.

I have a Garmin 8410 in my small non rib boat and a Garmin 105sv in the zodiac. The Garmin 8410 has a glass screen which has cracked from pushing the vessel hard in rough seas which is a downside to glass screens, not an issue with the lower cost units.

G3 vision charts are better than Cmap and Navionics in my opion (I have bathy charts in both my Garmin and Simrad to compare side by side). Garmin echomap often come pre loaded with charts but the bathymetric charts are an added extra.

Just to add, every sounder Ive had I expect them to pick up bottom at 30+kts and also in depths deeper than 300m using transom mounted transducers. If people aren't getting good soundings at speed, they have their transducers setup wrong or head units configured wrong.
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Old 19 October 2021, 00:27   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
>>>on Loch Morar a month back and I hit a rock whilst on the plane in 12m of water.

We had a week based at the western end a few years ago... I wasn't that keen. The water levels were low for us all week and there were some real traps for the unwary until you'd cleared the islands.
i have just had a new gearbox fitted to my outboard after a jaunt to gigha for lunch ( that we never got as they were booked solid ) . cruising through the sound of jura at 25 knots mirror flat water well out from the shore i had my nav zoomed right out so i could see gigha that was still some miles away but had lost bottom contours so i never saw the pinnacles i ran over as we were passing Danna .it was a shock i can tell you .i am now on the lookout for a second nav so i can have one with destination showing and one looking closer to my position
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Old 19 October 2021, 04:58   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerbelly View Post
I had my nav zoomed right out so i could see gigha that was still some miles away but had lost bottom contours so i never saw the pinnacles i ran over as we were passing Danna
Are all these hazards marked if you zoom in?
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Old 19 October 2021, 05:50   #11
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>>>cruising through the sound of jura at 25 knots mirror flat water well out from the shore i had my nav zoomed right out so i could see gigha that was still some miles away but had lost bottom contours so i never saw the pinnacles i ran over as we were passing Danna

Not Flat Rock off Kilmory by any chance? We nearly came a cropper a while back on that one. On the plane at 15kts with daughter in our 3.1m Zodiac and only looking at the handheld plotter now and again. A sixth sense alerted me to the odd look of a patch of water in our path so I throttled back veering off just missing running over a barely awash Flat Rock. I remember Jambo saying a few have landed on that one. It probably would have pulled our Tohatsu 9.8 2-stroke off the transom.

>>>Are all these hazards marked if you zoom in?

Some are... some not.
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Old 19 October 2021, 06:11   #12
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While the Garmin 45dv is a very capable fishfinder/plotter, it is several years old now and it came preloaded with garmin g2 charts, a bargain considering stand alone charts can cost as much as the unit itself and transponders are not cheap if not bundled with the unit. Anyway the 45dv cannot be upgraded to Bluechart G3 which is a shame as the latest offerings seem to allow use of Navionics relief shading which for fishermen is a game changer when hunting out new places to fish.


You can download a 14 day free trial of Navionics charts with relief shading for your apple or android smart phone which you can search out and mark waypoints for your own charts. I have transferred lots of local points of interest to my Garmin 45dv charts ready for when I next get afloat fishing.
So I suggest if money allows going for something newer than the 45dv that will allow you use of the later charts and maybe relief shading.


Here are a couple of pics of the same area near me, relief shading makes it look so much more inviting to try for fish in.


nayland test.png


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Old 19 October 2021, 06:54   #13
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Are you absolutely sure re the 45dv G2-G3 upgrade? It seems to be listed as compatible here??

https://www.activegps.co.uk/garmin-b...pdate-card.htm
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Old 19 October 2021, 07:23   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
Are you absolutely sure re the 45dv G2-G3 upgrade? It seems to be listed as compatible here??

https://www.activegps.co.uk/garmin-b...pdate-card.htm


Might need a firmware update?
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Old 19 October 2021, 07:24   #15
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Are you absolutely sure re the 45dv G2-G3 upgrade? It seems to be listed as compatible here??

https://www.activegps.co.uk/garmin-b...pdate-card.htm

I would really like to be found wrong and looking at your link it would seem I am. When I upgraded mine to the latest G2 mapping earlier in the year, I made inquiries on the Garmin forums and was told G3 wasnt compatible with my 45dv.
I will talk to Garmin direct if I can and get back on that, for now just ignore me
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Old 19 October 2021, 08:00   #16
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Well it looks like we are both right David
The 45dv will it seems take an upgrade to G3 charts with some features not available. The G3 chart I was most interested in was the one with relief shading called G3 Vision and that is not compatible with the 45dv.
Here is a link to Garmins compatibility page.


https://support.garmin.com/en-GB/?fa...rts&tab=topics


Oh Garmin UK also say the 45DV is discontinued so any available will be older stock.
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Old 19 October 2021, 11:23   #17
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Ahh well yes but...

I think when most of us mention a 45DV as a decent budget plotter we mean of course the latest version that's on sale. This is now the Echomap 45CV Plus...

https://www.force4.co.uk/item/Garmin...RoCbUcQAvD_BwE

With G3 charts included still a bargain at £299. Importantly as far as I can see from the link in post #15 if I'm reading it correctly the Echomap Plus models can have the upgrade to Vision with the functionality you'd prefer.
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Old 19 October 2021, 11:36   #18
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Garmin BlueChart g3 English Channel microSD/SD card priced at £129.99

Garmin BlueChart g3 Vision English Channel microSD/SD card priced at £239.99


Both the above chart upgrades will load on the 45DV But relief shading wont work on the 45DV so I'm going to be happy with the current installed charts.
Relief shading is available on the later Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 65cv, ECHOMAP Plus 75cv and ECHOMAP Plus 95cv models.
Info with help from James at ActiveGPS.
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Old 19 October 2021, 11:41   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
>>>cruising through the sound of jura at 25 knots mirror flat water well out from the shore i had my nav zoomed right out so i could see gigha that was still some miles away but had lost bottom contours so i never saw the pinnacles i ran over as we were passing Danna

Not Flat Rock off Kilmory by any chance? We nearly came a cropper a while back on that one. On the plane at 15kts with daughter in our 3.1m Zodiac and only looking at the handheld plotter now and again. A sixth sense alerted me to the odd look of a patch of water in our path so I throttled back veering off just missing running over a barely awash Flat Rock. I remember Jambo saying a few have landed on that one. It probably would have pulled our Tohatsu 9.8 2-stroke off the transom.

>>>Are all these hazards marked if you zoom in?

Some are... some not.
yep thats the bugger flat rock eh sounds about right as my skeg was the only damage it must have been under just the right amount of water for only the skeg to scrape over it . on the plus side i now have a spare comand thrust gearbox with light scrapes on the skeg
and back on track im looking at garmin 65 as second plotter
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Old 19 October 2021, 19:56   #20
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With the G3 vision charts, if the area has been surveyed you can expect the rocks to show exactly where they actually are on the chart, unlike older style charts that give you a rough idea there might be something in the area and also a rough idea of depth.. Contours are rough guides but don't show detailed structure where you can literally pull straight over the top of a pinacle and dive it knowing which side has the deepest face etc before hopping in the water (or fishing it).
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